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America, Count Your Blessings : Inthon

Taking time out of each day to count our blessings helps build a sense of appreciation for life and a sense of humbleness for one’s good fortune.  It is easy to avoid this simple exercise and not appreciate all that you have.

Just as a child thinks a safe home, healthy food, running water and electricity are all “free” and “normal”, we as citizens of our country need to take time and ask ourselves what blessings/fortunes we have in our favor and be thankful.

Not only is it important to realize how good we have it, we must also be aware of whether our fortunes are improving or worsening and whether these fortunes are sustainable or fleeting.

  • The US has the fortune of having the world’s reserve currency – the dollar.  In times of crisis, the world will, all things equal, dump weaker currencies and buy dollars.  A strong dollar allows us to buy foreign goods (most of what we consume) cheaper.
  • The US has never had trouble getting people to purchase our debt.  Foreign governments are always willing to lend us money at very low interest rates.  Only very recently have treasury auctions had weak demand and higher rates of interest have been demanded.   Economic growth is easier when you have plentiful access to credit.
  • We issue debt in our own currency, which allows us to “inflate away” our debt. Issuing debt in your own currency allows you to ease the burden of paying your debts by debasing your currency.  If a foreign nation issues debt in US Dollars and their currency loses value, they will sink deeper into debt; having to pay more of their currency to pay off the dollar-denominated debt.
  • Immigrants have flocked to America for over 200 years.  We have had the advantage of the smartest, most fearless, hungry people of the entire world coming here to work and be productive.
  • The US legal system allows for private property rights, due process, appeals and the notion that you are innocent until proven guilty.
  • The United States Constitution calls for three branches of government, each with checks and balances.  It limits federal power and mandates that most decisions be made at the state and local level.

I could go on and on about other geopolitical factors (massive world influence via economic and military spending, easy access to oil, plentiful natural resources), but you get the idea… the US has it made.

For my statements above in bold, let me ask you…

  1. How many people realize this and appreciate this?
  2. Do you think the average Joe has a clue about any of these incredibly useful, free rides he is getting?

The problem is this:  The above free rides and get-out-of-jail-free cards are things that we should be incredibly grateful for and guard with our lives.  Obviously, many of these are not permanent and will be lost over time. 

If we don’t understand that these privileges we have enjoyed are vanishing before our eyes, we are oblivious to reality and setting ourselves up for massive amounts of pain and suffering.

These facts are not on the minds of the average voter or average American.  We simply do not have awareness or consciousness that these factors have been in our favor for years and that they are not sacrosanct.  Politicians of either party don’t tell us how good we have it or that we’re living beyond our means.  This lack of awareness and intellectual honesty is going to blindside us.

Takeaway:  The handwriting is on the wall for those that care to read it. Think about each of the characteristics above and appreciate what you have.  As the financial crisis worsens and people look to the government to “solve” these problems, you can plan on these privileges disappearing.

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